Sunday, July 1, 2012

Garlic-Yogurt Chicken Pitas; Tzatziki; & Green Hummus with Pita Chips

We had our good friend Lua over for dinner tonight and wanted to do something that would be simple and fast, but still have a bit of a "wow factor".  Justin and I had been talking about a yogurt marinade recently and having company seemed like a good reason to do it (not that we really needed a reason).  So we went with a Mediterranean themed dinner.  

What I really like about these three dishes is that I used lots of the same ingredients in everything, so everything just stayed on the counter and got used again and again.  That's actually how I came up with the green hummus!  I had the intention of just making my regular recipe... but then I had the 3 green onions leftover, the mint, and some parsley from when we did our Italian Chopped Salad.  I was super stoked about how it came out all herby and delicious.  J and I both decided that every recipe listed below was perfect... lots of times we make a recipe, like it, make it the next time, change it a little, make it again, change it a little.  With these, we decided there wasn't room for improvement.  We liked them all just as they are.  (It was a pretty awesome compliment from Justin.)

The song playing right now in our kitchen, as I was typing this up and deciding what kind of music to post, is Bouncing Souls' "Letters From Iraq".  I think it's technically "Fourth of July Weekend", since the 4th is this Wednesday.  -jen

Prep time: 10 minutes, Cook time: 15-20 minutes
Difficulty: Way Easy
Serves:  6-8
  • 1.5 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • zest of 3/4 large lemon (use remaining zest for tzatziki)
  • juice of 1/2 large lemon (use remaining juice for tzatziki)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon dill
  • 2 teaspoons fresh mint, chopped 
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon Accent (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 pounds chicken breast, sliced into strips about the width of 2 fingers
  • pitas, lettuce, tomatoes, onion, hummus, tzatziki, feta cheese
In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients (except the chicken - that's hard to whisk).  Combine chicken strips and yogurt marinade in a gallon Ziploc and marinate for at least an hour (longer is optimal!)

The chicken would probably be better grilled, but it's a lousy day so we're baking it.  Preheat oven to 350 F.  Lightly oil a baking sheet, then line up chicken strips on pan and pour remaining marinade over them.  Bake at 350 F for 15-20 minutes (depending on the size of the strips, check with meat thermometer or cook until juices run clear).

Serve on a toasted pita with lettuce, tomato, onion, and cucumber.  We like to spread some hummus on the pita and top the pita with tzatziki.  Sprinkle with some crumbled feta cheese.

Time:  35 minutes
Difficulty:  Easy
Makes:  2 cups
  • 1 cucumber, de-seeded and diced fine
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • juice of 1/2 large lemon (use other half in chicken marinade)
  • zest of 1/4 large lemon (use remaining 3/4 in chicken marinade)
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 green onion, diced fine
  • 1/2 teaspoon dill
  • 2 teaspoons fresh mint, chopped fine
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon Accent (optional)
  • ground black pepper to taste
Place diced cucumber in a strainer over a bowl.  Toss evenly with 1 teaspoon salt and let drain for 1/2 hour to 1 hour.  Squeeze out excess juice.  Discard juice and combine the cucumber with Greek yogurt.  Add all remaining ingredients and mix.  Serve on pita sandwiches, as a dip with toasted pita, or as a fresh vegetable dip.

Time:  5-10 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Makes: 1 cup (maybe 1.5 cups)
Need:  Food processor or blender
  • 1 can (14.5oz) garbanzo beans, drained
  • 2 heaping tablespoons tahini 
  • 3 green onions, rough chopped
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, rough chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint, rough chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (depending on taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • few grinds of fresh black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar (or lemon juice)
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
Combine all ingredients except the olive oil in the food processor.  While blending, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until desired consistency.  Blend for 2 minutes on high until completely smooth.  Same application as tzatziki - use in pita sandwiches, to dip toasted pita or tortilla chips in, or as a fresh veggie dip.

Time:  15 minutes
  • pitas
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • Zatar seasoning (optional, but awesome)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cut pita into 1/8 sections.  Place in a single layer on baking sheet.  Brush tops with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper and Zatar.  Bake for 5 minutes.  Turn pieces over and bake another 5 minutes, or until crisp.   Can be eaten with both hummus and tzatziki.

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